The European Union (EU) is actively encouraging enterprises to increase their business with Iran, foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Tuesday. She made the announcement on the same day renewed U.S. trade sanctions against the Islamic Republic restarted.
Mogherini said it’s up to Europeans to decide who they want to trade with and not the U.S., she outlined during her trip to Wellington, New Zealand:
We are doing our best to keep Iran in the deal, to keep Iran benefiting from the economic benefits that the agreement brings to the people of Iran because we believe this is in the security interests of not only our region, but also of the world. If there is one piece of international agreements on nuclear non-proliferation that is delivering, it has to be maintained.
The United States reimposed stiff economic sanctions on Iran on Monday, renewing pressure on the Islamic Republic despite statements of doubt from European allies, three months after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the international accord originally brokered by Barack Obama.
Although Iranian officials boasted about the strength of their economy in the face of the renewed U.S. sanctions, they simultaneously pleaded with the European Union for rescue.
The Tehran Times on Sunday quoted President Hassan Rouhani’s deputy director for political affairs, Majid Takht Ravanchi, insisting that Europe must take firm action to circumvent the more devastating American sanctions before they go into full effect on November 4.
Trump declared the landmark 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, had been “horrible,” leaving the Iranian government with excess cash to contribute to conflicts across the Middle East. On Saturday he observed that even the threat of new sanctions had already worked:
Iran, and it’s economy, is going very bad, and fast! I will meet, or not meet, it doesn’t matter – it is up to them!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
Trump said in a later statement, “We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”
The EU announced in May that it is “determined to preserve” the Iran nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal.
Mogherini said then that the JCPOA “is delivering on its goal which is guaranteeing that Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons, the European Union is determined to preserve it.” She pledged to “stay true” and stand with Tehran in respecting the deal.
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